The article by Bob Harris about visiting the border between North and South Korea was interesting reading. Which lead to me writing about borders and a specific border. Somehow I have a fascination concerning country borders. There’s something interesting about someone drawing a line with a ruler that separates from place from another. Unless it’s a real demarcation concerning a river or an ocean, most borders are artificial. The place will stay the same after the borders are redrawn over and over again in future.
I’ve been to Berlin while it as divided into east and west. That border was spooky. Even more scary was the real border between West Germany and East Germany, a mile-wide line full of mines and without trees. I suspect the current border between South and North Korea is a similar strange place.
Anyway, the border I visited last summer was the one between United States and Mexico. More specifically is is the most south-western corner of United States. So it was interesting just to get to this point. This border resides in south San Diego, in a place called Border Field State Park. Yes, it is a real park. But what a park (more later.) Until I got my United States citizenship I actually didn’t even dare to go to places like this in order to avoid any odd notes in my file over at INS. But now as a US Citizen I have the right to visit any place unless it’s a restricted military installation or something similar.
As you could see the actual border by the sea is just a lot of long poles down in the sand, anyone could go between them. This area is actually heavily patrolled. It’s not about illegal immigrants (even if that’s a problem), rather really nasty drug traffic that happens across this point. This is why I didn’t mind that while I walked along the beach to this point I was followed by three or even four helicopters. When I reached the point there were even two border patrol agents with beach buggies following me.
That was actually very good as the people on the other side wanted me to come over and visit — me and my camera. I suspect I would have been mugged, even on the US side, but the border patrol that showed up from the shadows made me feel more secure.
This is a state park, but what a park. The Tijuana river dumps really nasty polluted water from Tijuana over on the other side, as it runs into US our tax payer money is used for maintaining some kind of pollution refinery trying to clean up the mess but it still arrives everywhere in the park. Poor birds living there. I would neither walk around anywhere in this area, just along the paths.
So the addition to illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and pollution makes this park one of the worst I’ve visited in California, maybe in the whole world. The noise from all the helicopters covers the whole park, most of the time, even at night. There are even big lights that I suspect are turned on during the dark hours.
The park was actually put in place as a friendship offer between Mexico and USA after the war where Mexico lost California. There’s even a small statue placed along the border, but what has happened is that people on the other side is slowly taking chunks out of it so it has become smaller and smaller. This is also supposedly a location for immigrants talking to their families on the other side without the need to go over the border and maybe not getting access back in. So you could actually find a lot of families here during weekends. There’s a big parking space even in this corner.
So would I recommend visiting this place? You have to be careful, that’s for sure. Don’t go there at dusk or otherwise at strange hours, you could get hurt, robbed or otherwise interrogated by border patrol or something similar. They are just doing their job and I think a good job based on the mess at the border. Better have a good reason why you are there as you will be asked your business. And you better clean your shoes afterward or just dump them!